Toronto as a “SMART” city. Speaking up will get us there.

What exactly is a “Smart City”?

According to Wikipedia. “A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets – the city’s assets include, but are not limited to, local departments’ information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services.

After all, a city is really just a collection of buildings, streets and people. It is the services and infrastructure that make the city “run”. A “Smart City” in its truest form simply allows residents to receive and use services in much more efficient manner, making the city “run smarter”

On the forefront of this change is obviously technology. In order for a city to become smarter, it has to have a very open stance to the adaption of new technologies. Some of the more popular technologies making their way into the recent headlines around smart city approaches have included companies such as UBER, AirBnB and Rover Parking.

So if a city like Toronto is interested in getting smarter, why has there been so much political push back around these services? It’s very clear that the majority of the people in Toronto want these services and there success has be evidenced by the public use and support.

The Mayor of Toronto, John Tory has made the below statement about Toronto’s openness to these new technologies many times;

“It is important for our by-laws to adapt to changing realities and enable, rather than restrict, their deployment to the benefit of the consumer and the broader public interest.

Clearly the Mayor of Toronto see’s where the city needs to go to get smarter.

The question of leading or following will ultimately come down to people speaking up to their local Councillors so that this support also comes from the bottom up, not just from the highest office.